We were astonished and very tempted to buy whatever we could. Unfortunately, our means of transportation rendered that temptation unfeasible.
Italy is in itself one giant antiquity market, in my view. The country had its two historic heydays during the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, a millennium apart. In between those periods and ever since, the country has dwindled into not much more than showing off the remains of its past. Tourists flock in to admire the Coliseum and the Sistine Chapel, the two most known buildings of those two eras.
Sad to say that goes for much of the rest of Southern Europe as well. I am quite pessimistic for the future of this large and varied region (and for the rest of Europe as well). It seems to be splitting apart once more, promoting self-interests and losing in the global competition like the rest of the old world. On the other hand, I find this famous quote quite illustrative in an amusing yet informative way.
In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” (Orson Welles)
I have made it to 13 independent countries out of 22. Click the links above to view all articles from a particular country.
My definition of Southern Europe are the countries adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea and on the west coast of the Black Sea. Give or take a few for practical purposes. (Portugal borders the Atlantic.)
This is a map of the region and Sandalsand’s visited and non-visited countries.
I have not been to Albania, Andorra, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
Open the box to view a multitude of picture galleries from Sandalsand’s travels in this region.
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For the best experience, open a picture gallery in a new tab or window.
Posts from Southern Europe
This video is from San Marino. "San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano" is no. 1245 on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The little republic of San...
A few centuries ago Italy was full of city-states. San Marino is the only one remaining and it is a World Heritage Site. The UNESCO World Heritage...
Montepulciano is a typical Tuscan town in a famous wine district. Audio: "Con te Partiro" performed by Andrea Bocelli. Read the full story here....
This is a collection of pictures from the Vatican. It is an independent city-state and enclave located within Rome, Italy. If you look up all...
"The Historic Centre of Rome" is no. 91 and "Vatican City" is no. 286 on UNESCO's World Heritage List. This combination of video and moving photos...
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia is one of the most popular weekend destinations in Europe. My itinerary is not perfect for all, but may serve as...
All cultural heritage sites are the result of living persons, but few have lent their names to the very heritage site. Antoni Gaudí, the famous...
Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain is the perfect destination for a short vacation. This video shows some of what there is to see. Audio: Narciso Yepes -...
"The Works of Antoni Gaudí" is no. 320 on UNESCO's World Heritage List. This video combines video and photographs from four of the sites, the...
This is a collection of pictures from Croatia, the result of a trip in 2006 to various places on the Adriatic coast. If you look up all articles...
Croatia and to a lesser extent Bosnia-Herzegovina have been rapidly growing as premier tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. We wanted to go...
The island of Hvar on the Croatian Adriatic coast is beautiful. This video concentrates on the northern part, in and near the city of Hvar. The...
The Stari Grad Plain is plain in the sense of being remarkably anonymous. Still it has a long history of being cultivated. The UNESCO World Heritage...
The Old City of Dubrovnik is a perfect Medieval fortress with fascinating buildings inside. It draws thousands of visitors every year. The UNESCO...
This video is from Dubrovnik. The Croatian fortified coastal "Old City of Dubrovnik" is no. 95 on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The Old Town is a...
This is a collection of pictures from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the result of a trip in 2006 to the Adriatic coast. If you look up my articles from...
This video Bosnia and Herzegovina is mostly from Mostar. "Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar" is famous and picturesque, and it is no. 946 on...
The bridge in the Muslim part of Mostar became a World Heritage after its destruction in the civil war. It is now a major attraction. The...
Video and animated photographs from a weekend in Madrid. Audio (1): José Carreras - "En Aranjuez con Tu Amor" by Rodrigo/Segura from the album...
Madrid is a capital and has been so for centuries. That is easy to notice walking and driving around this city of royals. We had no...
This is a collection of Sandalsand's pictures from France. They are digital evidence of trips to different parts of the country over many years. If...
This summer we chose a destination where everybody, big and small, could have their wishes realised. Therefore we went to Corsica. The boys...
A car ride from the east coast to the north western coast of Corsica. Corte, L'Île-Rousse and the Artisan Route in the mountains. Audio: "Clair de...
This is a video from a car ride down the east coast of Corsica. It runs from Bastia to Porto Vecchio, on to the Palombaggia Beach and ends in...
A fact sheet
This is Wikipedia’s introduction to Europe as a whole.
Map and numbers
- Area: 10,180,000 km2
- Population: 741,447,158 (2016)
- Population density: 72.9/km2
- Nominal GDP: $20.2 trillion (2017)
- PPP GDP: $26.7 trillion (2017)
- Per capita GDP: $27,330 (2017)
- HDI: 0.845
- Countries: 50 sovereign states, one observer, 6 with limited recognition
- Dependencies: 6 dependencies
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
Since around 1850, Europe is most commonly considered as separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Though the term “continent” implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Russia being transcontinental countries.
Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres, or 2% of the Earth’s surface (6.8% of land area). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of the world population) as of 2016. The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.
Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration, art and science led to the modern era. From the Age of Discovery onwards, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, almost all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century till the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution gave rise to radical economic, cultural and social change in Western Europe and eventually the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall.